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September 15, 2014

postAs humans, we are wired to learn. We feel most alive and functioning closest to our potential when we are learning, adapting, adjusting and finding new ways, approaches and techniques to improve our lives (or the lives of others) in some way.

Change and learning go hand in hand and change is all around us. Some say the rate of change is increasing, but whether that is true or not, this is definitely a fact in our everyday lives at First Option. Products change, customers change, process and policies change. It’s all change.

In order for us to cope with that change, we need to be willing and able to change. And learning is a key component in developing that ability. When we talk about learning, we’re not suggesting everyone needs to take a course in college, or go back to school for a new degree. Continuous learning is an attitude and a set of behaviors that allow us to succeed in our ever-changing environment, and is the best step we have to turn who we are today into who we want to be tomorrow. Change requires learning and conversely, there is no learning without change.

What are the behaviors that make up a true continuous learner? Life-long, continuous learners:

Have a beginner’s mindset.
A beginner looks constantly for one new “tidbit”, one or more ways to expand on their current expertise. In other words, expert or not, they don’t think that way, because they know that only with an open, beginners mind, can they benefit from the learning opportunity.

Make connections.
Continuous learners learn to connect. They continue to think about what they have learned in one part of their life and how it relates to and connects with challenges, problems, opportunities and situations that occur in other parts of their life.

Are flexible and adaptable.
Learning requires change, so continuous learners realize that they must be willing to adapt and change if they want to grow.

Are always learning something.
Continuous learners learn new things “just because.” They’ve always wanted to play guitar, so they take lessons. They want to ride a unicycle, so they try it. Are continuously curious. One of the most powerful learning questions we use is “Why?” Why is the question of the curious. Continuous learners remain curious about people, places, important and mundane things as well.

Learn in multiple ways.
Continuous learners know that they can learn by reading, by listening, by trying, through others, with a mentor, etc.

Teach others.
Continuous learners teach others not just to help the other person (or to show them how much they know) but because they know it helps them deepen their mastery of their own learning.

We believe that being a life-long learner is paramount to our continued success at First Option. Let’s face it, none of us individually have all of the answers, but collectively, through learning and adaptation, we can. Stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone. Pick a subject you’re passionate about, and CONTINUE LEARNING! We’ll ALL be better when each of us does better. Onward and upward, First Option!